February 22, 1921

REPORTS AND PAPERS


Copy Orders in Council Nos. 1722 and 1860 approving two tariffs of fees of elections' officers under section 76 of the Dominion Elections Act.-Hon. Sir Henry Drayton. Report on the Agricultural Instruction Act 1919-1920.-Hon. Mr. Calder for Hon. Mr. Tolmie. , Regulations under the Destructive In sect and Pest Act.-Hon. Mr. Calder for Hon. Mr. Tolmie. Order in Council appointing the representatives of Canada to attend the first meeting of the Assembly of the League ol Nations.-Right Hon. Sir George Foster.


THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH ADDRESS IN REPLY


Consideration of the motion of Mr. James Mclsaac for an address to His Excellency, the Governor General, in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, and the proposed amendment thereto of Mr. Mackenzie King, resumed from Monday February 21.


UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Right Hon. C. J. DOHERTY (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Lemieux) who entertained us last evening with an address that, no doubt, from many points of view was very interesting-although I think it must be confessed that it was in many respects hardly relevant to the motion and the amendment before the House-covered, as I took occasion to say, when moving the adjournment of the debate last night, a very considerable extent of ground. It is not my purpose or intention to take up in detail all the different matters, more or less relevant, which he introduced into that discourse. I shall content myself with dealing with what seemed, in the mind of the hon. gentleman at all events, to be the outstanding points which he sought to make, limiting myself, if I may use the expression, to "touching the high spots". That will necessarily reduce the length of my observations, because so far as I was able to appreciate his discourse the high spots, were rather conspicuous by their absence.

The hon. gentleman, I suppose in view of what had preceded in this debate, by way of finding something that might perhaps constitute a reason why this motion should be made, and a reason that might at least call for some discussion as to why we should have an election, suggested that we should have an election because there is going to be an Imperial Conference, as he described it, in the month of June. And when he mentioned "Imperial Conference", there immediately crept into his discourse a subject that he seems as incapable of keeping out of his speeches as was the famous Mr. Dick, of Dickens' creation, incapable of keeping out of his literary productions the head of King Charles. [DOT]

He gave us a dissertation upon his conception of Canada's national position, and in that he gave us another evidence of his settled determination to thwart every endeavour that may be made to assure to Canada the national status to which she has so long aspired, and to create the impression that her achievement in the direction of that full national status amounted practically to nothing. He clings-with all the determination which the hon. the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) attributes to us in what he calls our clinging to office-to the colonial garments with which he sees Canada still robed.

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L LIB
UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

The hon. member for Beauce (Mr. Beland) says that he was the gentleman who did that. I missed the pleasure of hearing his address-

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L LIB
UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

-and I quite realize the loss was entirely mine. The hon. gentleman in his speech did refer to the hon. member for Rouville as having taken the position which he took himself.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Do not call me the hon. member for Rouville, please.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I beg the hon. gentleman's pardon. I appreciate his modesty which seeks so promptly to repudiate the honours unconsciously attached to him. However that may be from the point of view of the hon. gentleman, perhaps* I should apologize for the error; it is always proper to apologize in such a case.

Mr.'LEMIEUX: And sin no more.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

The hon. gentleman, in his frantic endeavour to establish that Canada is, after all, nothing but a mere colony, carries us back to 1911. Incidentally, I may suggest that in seeking to establish that position he is seeking to establish that a large part of the life-work of his late distinguished leader, for whom he professes so great admiration, went absolutely for naught. But the hon. gentleman is still living in 1911. May I say to him that since 1911 a great deal of water has passed under the bridges? And may I add that a great deal of blood has been spilled on the battlefields of a ravaged and devastated Europe? And may I further add-but it is not needful to remind the hon. gentleman of that-that much of that blood was the blood of Canada's youthful sons Who, if nothing else had proved it, proved to the world that Canada had bought, at a price that is beyond all prices, the right to recognition of that nationhood to which she had grown? The hon. gentleman, going back to 1911, cites a declaration of the then Prime Minister of Great Britain, Right Hon. Mr. Asquith, that it was impossible that the dominion nations of this Empire should ever have any share in the control of the Empire's foreign affairs. Having cited this, the hon. gentleman says: The case is

ended; that is conclusive; there is nothing more to be said. I would ask the hon. gentleman: Since when have the people of Canada decided that their destinies are to be settled by the ipse dixit of any British Prime Minister, no matter how distinguished he may be? Time out of mind and times without number there has been hurled across the floor from the other side- we have heard it from the hon. gentleman himself-the imputation that upon this side of the House there was some desire to be governed from Downing Street. What more absolute evidence of the Readiness to be governed from Downing Street can be found than the abject submission of the hon. gentleman and his friends to a declaration, which he attributes to one Prime Minister, as settling forever the national status of Canada? In that day what that Prime Minister said was unsound and untrue. He slammed the door in the face of Sir Joseph Ward, who had made the suggestion-which, I am sure, found a response in the hearts of the people of all these dominions-that the time had come when as sister nations we were entitled to have our say as to what the Empire of which we are an essential part should do in connection with her foreign affairs as well as in connection with

other affairs of general interest. We have to admit that the then representative of this Dominion stood silently by, and so far as silence could give acquiescence he gave his acquiescence. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Lemieux) is not satisfied with that silent acquiescence; he comes to ,us now, ten years afterwards, to proclaim that the question was then and there settled once for all. May I remind him that there were people in Canada at that time who were not prepared to give that silent acquiescence? May I remind him that within one year after that incident other representatives of Canada were in England speaking the real voice of Canada? May I remind him that among those gentleman was the right hon. member for King's (Sir Robert Borden)? May I recall to his mind also the fact that that right hon. gentleman went from gathering to gathering in England proclaiming in terms that permitted of no misunderstanding that Canada did not accept the dictum that she . never could and never would have a voice in the control and direction of those important affairs touching so closely her vital interests? Has he forgotten-or, perchance, did he never know-that that same Mr. Asquith (who in the presence of the acquiescing representatives of Canada had slammed the door in Sir Joseph Ward's face) after these pronouncements of the right hon. member for King's and after the response that he saw they evoked in the British hearers of that right hon. gentleman, reopened that door? What Mr. Asquith said in 1911 he abandoned in 1912, the hon. member clings to it still. Let me read to him what the hon. Mr. Asquith said in 1912 after he had heard the real voice of Canada as spoken by the right hon. member for King's. It may be found in the British Hansard for the 22nd of July, 1912. In what he acknowledged there Mr. Asquiths did not stand alone; there was a veritable chorus of leaders and leading statesmen on both sides of the British House declaring their recognition of the soundness of the doctrine that the right hon. gentleman was laying down, and Mr. Asquith's statement came as the crowning of what they had all said. And what did Mr. Asquith say? I quote from the British Hansard:

I will add, although I will not make any detailed statement upon that point at this moment-that side by side with this growing participation in the active burdens of the Empire, on the part of our Dominions there rests with us undoubtedly the duty of making such response as we can to their obviously reasonable appeal that they should be entitled to

be heard in the determination of the policy and in the direction of Imperial affairs. I do not say it would be wrong to state-of course Mr. Borden and his colleagues would be the first to disclaim any desire for any such declaration, but I do not say in what shape or by what machinery that great purpose is to be obtained. Arrangements like that cannct be made in a day. They must be the result of mature deliberation and thought; they will probably have to develop from time to time-

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I will show the hon.

gentleman how they have developed from time to time. There was a period of time filled with great events between 1912 and 1921. Mr. Asquith continues:

- but without committing ourselves in any degree to particular forms in the matter, we share with our great Dominions the feeling which has become more and more conscious and articulate as years have gone on throughout the Empire, that we have a common heritage and interests, and that in the enjoyment of that heritage, and in the discharge of the duties which those interests involve, we ought more and more to be conscious partners with one another.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

As the then Prime

Minister of Great Britain foresaw, time has done its developing work. The hon. gentleman-I should say the hon. gentlemen, for the hon. member for Beauce (Mr. Beland) insists upon being included-seem to be singularly blind to what is going on around them. They have not seen this developing work of time in which their late leader had so implicit a faith. They do not seem to have the aspirations that he had. They want to see their Canada always, shall I say, in her swaddling clothes?- Perhaps that would be carrying things too far; but however she may grow, whatever years she may attain, whatever achievements may be to her credit, however perfectly she may have fitted herself for her role amongst her sister nations, they want to see her with her fingers grasping close her mother's apron strings and clamouring to be kept in the nursery. High ambition, lofty ideal, for Canadians to hold! Surely the hon. gentlemen, who after all, I know have good Canadian hearts, will some day wake up, will some day escape from their Egyptian darkness which seems to surround them and precludes their seeing their country's growth. I spoke of their being in Egyptian darkness. Is this blindness of theirs perhaps not more attributable to the very dazzling nature of the light that shines upon this country and shows her forth to the world's nations as a nation

standing on a footing of equality amongst the nations of the British Commonwealth? Is is not rather that, on account of their having accustomed themselves to live in the darkness of that colonial condition, the light appears to be too much for their unaccustomed eyes, and just because the evidence is too conclusive, because the light shines too brilliantly, they seem incapable of seeing?

I have said that through those years there have been developments. Certainly a great change operated from the day of the British Prime Minister's declaration cited by the hon. gentlemen in which he pooh-poohed the possibility of the Dominions standing recognized as sister nations, to the day when another Prime Minister of Great Britain, introducing the representatives of those sister nations into the society of nations, first at the Paris conference and in the League that was subsequently constituted, said, mincing no words: " Why, Sir, these are practically

independent nations." There is a long gap between those two declarations, and evidently the moving hand of time of which Mr. Asquith spoke in 1912 had not stopped but had continued to move during that period. What is the evidence that has satisfied the world of Canada's national status and that has left unconvinced no one but a few-I sincerely believe they are becoming fewer-people in Canada who persist in turning their eyes away from, the light? It is not my habit, nor my practice, to try to search out men's motives; I am satisfied to judge their actions, and as I have said, I believe that these hon. gentlemen have good Canadian hearts.. I can only wish them a better intellectual eyesight.

What is the position to-day? Every statesman of the United Kingdom recognizes that this Empire is made up of different, distinct, self-governing nations, and that it takes all of them to make the great commonwealth which is called the Empire; that there belongs to no one of those nations the right of domination over the other; that there belongs not even to a majority of those nations the right to dominate over any one or more of them. We have found a better method for binding together those nations of the great British Commonwealth, because, bear in mind that I have made no suggestion that Canada or any one of the other Dominions is a nation outside of the British Empire. I have heard the hon. gentleman many and many a time in eloquent periods protest his devotion to the maintenance of that great commonwealth,

and so far as those expressions go, I have no desire to differ with him. There is in what I am saying no suggestion of any separation from the great Empire which really would be dislocated if one of these members should abandon it, and I am not talking of that; but I am trying to bring to the mind of the hon. gentleman just what that Empire is, and it is that partnership to which the Hon. Mr. Asquith aspired in the words that I have quoted. Surely we stand to-day, by common acknowledgment of the statesmen not only of the other Dominions, but of the United Kingdom itself, nations each equal in status with every other.

I do not think I need labour that further. Why did His Majesty, when he was called upon to sign the peace treaty and wanted to bind his entire Empire, sign that Treaty distinctly on behalf of Canada, distinctly on behalf of Australia, distinctly on behalf of South Africa, distinctly on behalf of New Zealand? Why did he consider that he should not impose that signature until he had the advice of his ministers of those respective countries? Simply because what was needed was the Empire's signature, and you would not have the Empire's signature when you had the signature of but one of the nations if you had not the signatures of all the nations that went to make up that Empire. Can there be any more outstanding act that His Majesty is ever called upon to do on behalf of this Empire than the signing of a treaty of that import? Why, too, when the nations proceeded to form their Assembly of Nations, did they welcome Canada as one amongst them? Why, when they convened their Assembly of the League of Nations, did they summon Canada to be present? Why did they receive her delegates on a footing of equality with the delegates of the greatest States of this world? Why did they, whatever may have been the value of what those delegates had to say, listen with respect to the voice of Canada? The answer is obvious. Nothing of that kind could have happened if they at all events had not differed from my hon. friend as to Canada's status. And now the hon. gentleman finds a reason why we are not a nation. It is because we are not performing all the actions of nations. He says-just listen, because it is so conclusive and so convincing! Why, he says, you have not got any consular offices. A new addition to the essentials of national existence! Because Canada has not felt the need of consular offices, because, having this big

sister nation, which, by reason of its manifold interests, requires such offices all over the world and is willing to give Canada the service of those offices whenever she may have an interest calling for representation in those countries-because under those circumstances Canada does not seek to provide herself with consular offices, then, forsooth, Canada has gone back to her colonial status! Having given us this conclusive reason, what is the next thing the hon. gentleman proceeds to do? He directs an attack upon this Government for having sought to provide for diplomatic representation at Washington. Very consistent! We are not a nation because we have not got consular offices; the one thing he is able to point out as lacking to our national status is that we should have consular offices; but so determined is he that we should not complete the national status that he makes an onslaught upon us for having had the ambition to provide for a diplomatic representative at Washington, the country where we have the greatest occasion for representation, the country with whom our relationships are such that we may be said, without exaggeration, to be in constant communication with regard to matters of a kind that, where we have no diplomatic representative, have to be communicated through the office in Great Britain and communicated back through that office, and through the British Ambassador to us. The hon. gentleman waxes indignant because we sought to remedy that state of affairs. Is it that he is afraid that he may be deprived of the last shred of argument that he could invoke to deny the status of his own country, to humiliate her and keep her back among the growing children who have not yet reached the status of manhood or womanhood and are not yet qualified to take their place among their adult companions in the great body of the world's nations?

Then, my hon. friend and the hon. member for Beauce (Mr. Beland) raised the ghost that we thought had long since been laid, the ghost with which they seek to terrorize the people of Canada, the ghost of some central organization that must necessarily be brought into existence and have conferred upon it a power to dominate Canada if Canada ventures to assert her national status. Outside of the imagination of these hon. gentlemen, where can we find evidence of any such danger as that? Who is preaching to-day the creation of a central organization to dominate this Dominion?

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Henri Sévérin Béland

Laurier Liberal

Hon. H. S. BELAND (Beauce) :

Lord

Burnham and Lord Cave.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

If Lord Burnham and

Lord Cave are preaching such a doctrine, let me again point out that we on this side of the House are not like my hon. friend. We do not say: Lord Burnham and Lord

Cave have said so; therefore, Canada, bow down.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

We have our say. Let me just read to the hon. gentleman what somebody who has more to say about the matter than Lord Burnham or Lord Cave, so far as Canada is concerned, had to say the other day in our good city of Montreal. Speaking on this question of Imperial relations, he said:

Let us keep on the way we are going and let brotherly love continue. I have never been a believer In abrupt constitutional change. The elevation of our status as a British nation has through all the years been a matter of growth rather than of change, and so it will always be.

There are those who are continually seeing trouble In our Imperial relations, and who pretend to be In terror lest we lose our autonomy. There is no more danger of the loss of our autonomy than there is of the loss of our atmosphere. Don't let us be frightened by ghosts, especially homemade ghosts, born and re-born, exhibited and re-exhibited wholly for political purposes. One political leader of the present time-he does not live in Montreal- puts a declamation into every speech against what he calls Imperial Centralization. I don't konw anyone with the slightest Influence either here or anywhere else who wants Imperial Centralization.

He was apparently not as intimate with the noble lords as my two distinguished friends. He went on:

It is a long, long time since, any such system was even seriously talked of, and no one has done more to make anything like centralized control forever impossible and to point a more excellent way to the British' family of nations than has the man who led this country through the war, whose principle of full autonomy I adhered to then and sanction now. Perhaps the necessity of an issue is father to the thought, but there are some whose fear of centralization is the greater the farther we get from it.

Those are the words of the right hon. the Prime Minister of this country, speaking the unanimous opinion of the men who sit behind him. Will the hon. gentlemen now stop being afraid of ghosts?

They tell us they do not want Imperial centralization. Here is the declaration from the authorized voice which speaks for this side of the House. Why are gentlemen

so afraid? But perhaps before proceeding further I might remark that when one insists on remaining in the nursery one is likely to lack confidence in what oneself may do by way of protection from dangers real or apprehended. But those of us who have been proud to step out into the open field of Canada's nationhood trust to ourselves for our own protection from any threatened interference with our autonomy, if there be any such threat. And let me add that I am not aware of the statements of Lord Cave or Lord Burnham, but I have heard statesmen occupying,-with all respect to those particular gentlemen-much more prominent and much more influential positions in the Government of the British Empire, and I have heard them, not once but time and time again-and you may find their declarations in the newspapers - repudiating the idea of any such ambition. Let hon. gentlemen not be afraid; let them gather their courage together.

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February 22, 1921